Ooty's been done to death. You know each of the 36 hairpin bends - between Bandipur and Ooty - like the back of .. ok make that the leather trimming on the steering wheel. Masinagudi, Bandipur ,Nagarhole,Munnar, Kodaikanal leaves you with the feeling of once is enough.For your next weekend break try Thiruvannamalai. It offers you everything you want your weekend break to have. A long short drive from Bangalore. 200 kms in a maximum of 4 hours.Great roads, for most parts. Pristine countryside. One of the country's most spiritual (not necessarily religious,mind you!) destinations. Pool,spa.. wah!
For starters, take Hosur road. Curse if you must, since the road till about 7 km beyond electronics city is in shambles, in stretches, due to work on the elevated highway project. This is of course after you have navigated the crowded roads till Total Mall. Then step on the gas till you reach The Renaissance ( now Sarovar Portico) in Hosur. This is just after the first flyover you encounter just before reaching Hosur. This is the best place for breakfast/meal till you reach your destination (buffet breakfast Rs.200/head). The other breakfast alternatives are Ananda Bhavan in the Bharat Petroleum filling station (beyond Sarovar Portico) - if you like your Dosa served with Speed 93 fumes instead of chutney - or the Coffee Day in the HP premises where the queue for sandwiches is longer than the one for gas.
Irrespective of whether you have had Dosa with Speed fumes or sandwiches after an interminable wait set your heading for Krishnagiri followed by Uttangarai & Chengam before you reach your destination - Thiruvannamalai. Except for about a total of 50 kms of not so great roads ( small potholes but nothing like the unsoldered stretch before Electronics City) you can zip,zap,zoom.
If you have had a fill at Hosur - neither your car nor you will need a refill till you reach Thiruvannamalai. However, do provide a stimulus package to the local economy by patronising sellers of strung jasmine buds and tender coconuts who you will encounter on the way especially after Uttangarai. If nothing else,it make their day and will also augment your good karma.
Oh! do make the necessary arrangements for accommodation before you leave. Try for the free accomodation at the Ramana Maharshi Asharam (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stay at the Sparsa Resort .Sparsa (Ph:04175-236911) is a great place.Worth the Rs.4,000 for a double.
Accomodation at the ashram will lead to purity of the mind - and who knows even self realization. Sparsa resort too does not allow smoking and alcohol. Though, of course, it has a spa and a pool if you don't just have spirituality on your mind.